“Romanticism was more widespread both in its origins and influence no other intellectual or artistic movement has comparable variety, reach, and staying power since the end of the Middle Ages” (Brians 1). The Romanticism Era is widely thought to involve “romance”; however, it was a movement of change in how Western cultures viewed the world they lived and how they perceived themselves. Occassionly romance would find itself to be used in art. Romanticism found its origins during the 1770s in Germany and England, although they themselves were not countries that used the romantic languages. By the 1820s, romanticism swept the Western Hemisphere like a welcomed plague from Boston to Tokyo.
Romanticism was part of the Counter-Enlightenment culture that showed a revolt against its aristocratic and political norms. The Romantic Era was also against the replacement of traditions and emotions as motivators for societies behavior compared to rational ones towards nature. The early stages of the Romanticism Period is also known as the “ages of Revolutions” because it encompassed the American Revolution in 1776, and also the French Revolution in 1789. These early stages also shared the same timeline with the initial part of the Industrial Revolution.
Romanticism involves a variety of characteristics, one including imagination. Romantics believed imagination was our ultimate creating power. This belief strongly counter acted the Enlightenment Period, which believed in reason. During this period of time, and even today, people use imagination to help perceive and create the world they live in. The Brooklyn College states, “Imagination is the primary faculty for creating all art”. This thought process help shaped all forms of Romantic art.
Nature itself was extremely important to the Romantics. These people saw nature as a work of art.
Religion, like always, played a part in art even during the Romantic Period. Because the Age of Enlightenment help release the tight choke religion had a society, it allowed artist to feel free to play around with religion. This showed that the Enlightenment and Romantic movements were about to coexist with change.
Individualism became one of the main base principles in this period. Before Romanticism, people were who they were born into including: nobles, peasants, or merchants. Old ways of thinking and patterns were slowly deteriorating, and this is due to mercantilism and capitalism taking hold of Europe. Individualism allowed people to create new styles and taste in culture.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1712. Rosseau has influenced everything from political theory by Karl Marx, to philosophy, and even education of the modern era. Rosseau is known as the “father of Romanticism”, due to him inspiring the movement in philosophy. Rosseau and his political philosophy also influenced the French Revolution in 1789. Rosseau had a theory of social contract, in which he believed was the best way in which to set up a political community. Rosseau states in Of Social Contract, or Principles of Political Right, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”. This statement shows that he believes that individuals have the right to make their own decisions concerning everything from law to religion. However, the laws of religion and country are too strict for people to have a sense of individualism. Rosseau’s social contract theory “essentially made “natural” rights the basis for human complaints”, states the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. Rosseau’s strong sense of individualism is one of the main components in Romanticism.
Mary Shelley was an English novelist who lived during the peak of the Romanticism period. Shelley could be described as a Gothic novelist due to her evocation of strong and irrational emotions. Shelley mastered the sense of horror, and wrote Frankenstein in 1818. Frankenstein is about a doctor who creates a hideous monster and also how the